Pechanga Band to reclaim ancestors and artifacts from military

San Nicolas Island in California. Photo from U.S. Navy

The Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians is reclaiming ancestral remains and artifacts that were uncovered on San Nicolas Island in California.

The tribe has maintained a long connection to the island. Graduate student Tom Holm documented those links and they helped persuade the U.S. Navy to return 469 ancestors and 436 funerary objects under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

“What today’s decision means is that nearly 500 human remains, and hundreds of burial and sacred items will finally be afforded the respect and dignity they have long deserved under federal law," Pechanga Chairman Marc Macarro said in the statement, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. “The staggering amount of remains and sacred items involved stands as a testament to the need for stronger laws that respect Native heritage throughout the United States.”

The Navy's determination was announced in the Federal Register on February 26.

Get the Story:
Artifacts highlight Lone Woman story (The San Diego Union-Tribune 3/1)
Navy recognizes tribe’s connection to California island (AP 3/1)
So. California tribe "culturally-affiliated" with San Nicolas Island (The Ventura County Star 2/28)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, Washington, DC (February 26, 2015)

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